June 24, 2015

Press Release: Portland Opera’s 50th Anniversary Season and the Romantic Comedy

Free Simulcast and Streetfair Closes Celebratory Season on Saturday, August 1.

The final production in Portland Opera’s 50th anniversary season, Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, will be staged in the intimate, 880-seat Newmark Theatre. The Elixir of Love is the company’s seventh opera to be performed there; many performances of previous productions there have sold out.

As the capstone to the anniversary year, the Opera’s gift to the Portland community will be a daylong family-oriented Streetfair beginning at 12 noon on Saturday, August 1st, followed by a free outdoor simulcast of The Elixir of Love that evening. The Streetfair and simulcast are funded by a special grant from Wells Fargo.

During his 25-year career, which was cut tragically short by an early death, Donizetti composed more than 70 operas, with masterpieces ranging from the profoundly tragic, such as Anna Bolena and Lucia di Lammermoor, to high-spirited comedies such as The Daughter of the Regiment and Don Pasquale. The Elixir of Love, composed in 1832, is his most warm-hearted creation, notable for its charming characters, its melodic grace, and the poignant tenor aria “Una furtive lagrima.”

As the opera begins, Nemorino has been unlucky in love. High and mighty Adina laughs off his every attempt to strike up a romance with her, especially after handsome Sergeant Belcore rides into town. Desperate, Nemorino enlists in Belcore’s battalion and invests his bonus in a large dose of Doctor Dulcamara’s “Elixir of Love.” Giddy with hope (and wine), Nemorino suddenly seems younger, handsomer, and richer to all the village girls. Even Adina starts responding to his home-spun charms, so she packs Belcore off to conquer other hearts and pledges her own to Nemorino.

The Elixir of Love will be set in the American Wild West of the 1880s, a delightfully inventive and uniquely appropriate locale for the action. “Donizetti’s characters have a universal quality that transcends their original time and place,” says General Director Christopher Mattaliano. “The likeable conman Dr. Dulcamara becomes a traveling snake-oil salesman. We all identify with Nemorino, the “ordinary Joe” who loves the lofty and seemingly unattainable Adina, but wins her hand in the end. And Sergeant Belcore is a kind of desert Don Giovanni, happy to ride off into the distance in search of other hearts to conquer when he is outmaneuvered here.”

The stage director is Ned Canty, who made his Portland debut with La Calisto in 2009. The scenic designer is Curt Enderle, who also designed La Calisto. The costumes are designed by Christianne Myers.

Music Gaetano Donizetti
Libretto by Felice Romani
Performed in Italian with English supertitles
World Premiere: Teatro della Canobbiana, Milan, May 12, 1832
American Premiere:  Park Theatre, New York, June 18, 1838
Portland Opera Premiere: March 6, 1975

Giannetta                      Valery Saul
Nemorino                     Matthew Grills+
Adina                           Katrina Galka++
Belcore                         Alexander Elliott++
Dulcamara                    Steven Condy

With the Portland Opera Orchestra and Chorus

+ Portland Opera Resident Artist Alumnus
++ Portland Opera Resident Artist

Artistic Bios


Katrina Galka is concluding her first year as a Portland Opera Resident Artist with the role of Adina. Earlier this season she portrayed Ida in Die Fledermaus, Frasquita in Carmen, and Kim in Show Boat. She returns to Portland Opera next season for her second year as a Resident Artist, performing Johanna in Sweeney Todd, Papagena in The Magic Flute, and Elvira in The Italian Girl in Algiers. Katrina received her Master of Music in vocal performance from Boston University in 2013 and returned the following year for post-graduate work with the Boston University Opera Institute. She has appeared with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Papagena in Isaac Mizrahi’s The Magic Flute and Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance. Other roles she has performed include Pamina in The Magic Flute, Marie in Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment, and Eurydice in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld.


Valery Saul (Giannetta) is a regular member of the Portland Opera Chorus, where she has also performed roles in Show Boat and The Marriage of Figaro. Her additional credits include Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus and Leila in Iolanthe, both for Mock’s Crest Productions, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel for the University of British Columbia Opera program, and Sesto in Handel’s Julius Caesar for the European Music Academy. Valery is a member of the voice faculty at the University of Portland and maintains a private teaching studio.


Matthew Grills is one of America’s fastest-rising young tenors. In 2012, he was a grand-prize winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and won first place in the Lotte Lenya Competition, becoming the only singer ever to win both competitions in the same year. His recent and upcoming engagements include Fenton in Falstaff with the Wolf Trap Opera, Pedrillo in The Abduction from the Seraglio for the Bavarian State Opera, the demanding title role in Rossini’s Count Ory at Munich’s historic Cuvilliés Theatre, and Nathaniel in The Tales of Hoffmann for San Francisco Opera. Matthew was a Portland Opera Resident Artist in 2012-13, performing in Tosca, Rinaldo, and the Big Night concert. In 2013-14, he was a studio artist with the Bavarian State Opera, performing in Wozzeck, Lucrezia Borgia, and Der Rosenkavalier, among many others.


Alexander Elliott is completing his second year as a Portland Opera Resident Artist. In 2013-14 he appeared as Man with a Shoe Sample Kit in Postcard from Morocco and Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance. This season, his roles have included Frank in Die Fledermaus, Le Dancaïre in Carmen, and Steve Baker in Show Boat, as well as Sgt. Belcore. Next season he sings Marcello in La Bohéme with Tulsa Opera, followed by a return to Portland for Anthony in Sweeney Todd and the title role in Eugene Onegin. Alex also performed Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, the Corporal in The Daughter of the Regiment, and the Postman in Most Happy Fella for Tulsa Opera. He has been a member of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and the Central City Opera apprentice program.


Steven Condy is renowned for his portrayals of the classic “buffo” roles in operatic comedy, with The Washington Times enthusing that he has “the comic timing of John Candy and a voice that remains flexible, rich and true through every intricacy.” His specialties include Dr. Bartolo in The Barber of Seville, performed for the Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera and San Francisco Opera; the title role in Falstaff, at the Utah Opera, Kentucky Opera and Chautauqua Opera; and Dulcamara with the Washington National Opera, Arizona Opera, and Opera Pacific. Steven’s Gilbert and Sullivan credits include Major-General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance and Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore. His additional credits include Betto in Gianni Schicchi for the Los Angeles Opera, which was staged by Woody Allen.


Conductor                     Nicholas Fox
Director                         Ned Canty
Scenic Designer           Curt Enderle
Costume Designer       Christianne Myers
Lighting Designer        Don Crossley


Bob’s Opera Overture

These free and informative sessions, led by Resident Historian and Lecturer Bob Kingston, focus on the music and history behind the evening’s opera, to make each performance even more satisfying.

1 hour prior to each performance | Orchestra level | Free

Back Talk

Immediately after each performance, audiences are invited to join General Director Christopher Mattaliano and guests that will include fresh-from-their-dressing-room performers, directors, and conductors for a 20 to 30-minute Q&A.

Orchestra level | Free


Opera in Depth       

A detailed exploration of Donizetti’s opera, led by Alexis Hamilton, Manager of Education & Outreach, and Bob Kingston, Portland Opera’s Resident Historian and Lecturer.

Monday, July 13, 2015, 7:30pm | Hampton Opera Center (211 SE Caruthers St., Portland)

$20 adult/$10 student | Call to order: 503-241-1802

Opera Previews

Portland Opera’s Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master Nicholas Fox leads these 50-minute previews of The Elixir of Love, with musical examples provided by the company’s Resident Artists.

Sunday, July 12, 2015, 2pm | Multnomah County Central Library | Free

Street Fair

Street Fair with activities for children and families, culminating with a free simulcast of The Elixir of Love, beginning at 7:30pm.

Saturday, August 1, 2015 | SW Main Street between Antoinette Hatfield Hall and the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall | Complete Schedule to follow

Thank you to our sponsors

Support for The Elixir of Love is provided by the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, RACC, Work for Art, the Oregon Arts Commission, Meyer Memorial Trust, and the Collins Foundation. The Street Fair celebration is sponsored by Wells Fargo.


Fri. 7/17, Thurs., 7/23, Sat. 7/25, Thurs., 7/30, Sat., 8/1 at 7:30pm  |  Sun. 7/19 at 2pm

Tickets, starting at $25.00, can be purchased:

BY PHONE:   503-241-1802 or toll-free 866-739-6737, (M-F, 9am-5pm)

Ticketmaster, (800) 982-ARTS

ONLINE:     PortlandOpera.org or Ticketmaster.com

IN-PERSON:  Portland Opera Box Office, 211 SE Caruthers St. (just south of OMSI, off Water Ave., M-F, 9am-5pm)

All Ticketmaster outlets.

RUSH:          Students/Military: $10 per ticket; Seniors: $20 per ticket, 2 hours prior to show only, all available unsold seats. 1 ticket per person, valid ID required.